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December 09, 1988 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-12-09
Note:
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INTERVIEW
Continued from Page 13
cused of being a propagandist be-
cause they express a point of view.
Actually all historians express a
point of view, but only certain
points of view are considered pro-
paganda. The other points of view
are considered, well, "that's the
truth."
W: If an unsanitized U.S history
were to replace the one in our
existing texts, what direct effect
would this have on U.S. culture and
society?
Z: One thing it would do, it would
make people more skeptical of
government claims to be in the
right all the time in what it does.
For instance, if we had an unsani-
tized history of the Vietnam War, a
history which showed all the
deceptions, all the lies that accom-
panied the start of that war, which
really told a story of the Gulf of
Tonkin as a mammoth deception of
the American public and of the
U.S. congress; which told a story
of the bombing of Vietnam of one
of the most brutal exercises in
modern times by any nation. If you
had an unsanitized history like that,
well, it would have the same effect
on the public that, in fact, the
increasing knowledge of the Viet-

nam War did have on the American
public in the '60s, where they
learned what was going on in Viet-
nam not from history but by read-
ing the newspapers, going to teach-
ins, going to meetings and demon-
strations, seeing scenes on televi-
sion. But the history books that
then come later tend to give you a
much more bland picture of the
War. One which leaves the reader
not as indignant as the reader might
be, given a full, vivid treatment of
the war. So the effect of an unsani-
tized version, as you call it; that is,
the effect of telling certain uncom-
fortable truths - about Vietnam,
about our policies in Central
America, about the history of U.S.
relations with Latin America - the
result of that would make people
very skeptical of government. In
other words, the result would be a
profoundly democratic one because
it is the essence of democracy that
people should be skeptical of gov-
ernment, that the people should
understand governments are artifi-
cial creations, that they have their
own motivations, that governments
may in fact represent some minor-
ity of interests in society, that
governments may follow policies
that are detrimental to the interests
of the majority. So it is very un-
democratic to have faith in what the
government does.

VOLUME 7, NO.

13

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PAGE 16 , WEEKEND/DECEMBER 9,1988

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